Every wonder why at St. Patricks’s Day we all wear green and celebrate everything green? While St. Patrick’s Day is always associated with the color green, royal blue was originally the national color of Ireland.
Blue was depicted in the early Irish flags, first in the banner of the Lordship of Ireland from 1177 to 1541, next in the Standard of the Kingdom of Ireland from 1541 to 1801. The color blue was also adapted by the Order of Saint Patrick in the 1780s, thus the term “St. Patrick’s blue.”
According to Time magazine, the earliest use of green for Irish nationalistic reasons was during the violent Great Irish Rebellion of 1641, in which displaced Catholic landowners and bishops rebelled against the authority of the English crown, which had established a large plantation in the north of Ireland under King James I.
Green became associated with Ireland because the climate there preserves the natural green color of vegetation that surrounds its countryside. Today, the Irish flag contains the color green, along with white and orange. According to the Irish government, green on the national flag symbolizes the Gaelic political and social order of Ireland or the Catholic side.
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is known to have used the shamrock or three-leafed clover to explain the Holy Trinity to pagans. This is why it became customary to wear green clothes, accessories, and shamrocks in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since the 18th century.
The origins of the wearing of green clothing in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day date back to the 19th century, according to Time. When waves of Irish immigrants came to America looking for better job opportunities, they began wearing green and carrying Irish flags along with American flags as a point of pride for their home country.